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Utah Jazz are in a playoff position even after this season's wild ride

Published: Monday, April 1 2013 9:00 a.m. MDT

Utah's Derrick Favors pushes on Markieff Morris as the Utah Jazz and the Phoenix Suns play Wednesday, March 27, 2013 in Energy Solutions arena. Utah wins 103-88.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — If you review the Utah Jazz's schedule for the 2012-13 season, their current stretch of success only makes sense.

Since this basketball year began, they've made a habit of answering cold spells with hot streaks, balancing wins with losses, and straddling the fence of mediocrity.

They're good for a while, great for a night or two, lousy for a week or so. Rinse, win, lose, win, lose, repeat.

Go figure that they'd win four in a row after losing four straight.

Surprising? Of course not.

As they say, it is what it is.

They are who they are.

Or, is it possible that this group has turned a corner, and they no longer are who they were? Maybe, just maybe, it isn't what it was?

Could that tough-luck Texas trip have changed their identity?

After all, the Jazz have looked awfully clutch in crunch time as of late. Even on the road. Even against a bona fide playoff team. And even against two struggling squads they were supposed to beat and still did.

"It's amazing how things change so quickly, right?" Jazz guard Randy Foye said after hitting eight 3-pointers and scoring 26 in the 116-107 win over Brooklyn. "I think we just stayed together. We weathered the storm."

Foye points back to that overtime loss in San Antonio as the watershed moment.

"Even though we lost, that set the tone for us," he said. "This is a great time to have confidence right now."

And it added another thrilling twist in this roller coaster season.

But even when many people wrote their playoff hopes off and penciled in the Los Angeles Lakers or Dallas Mavericks — some still might — the Jazz maintained a positive attitude. They weren't done trying to reach the summit even while they were tumbling down the mountainside.

"If you listen to all the talk and the naysayers and the people counting you out and you let that get into your head, it can affect you," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. "These guys have proven this is a high character group of guys. They push each other. They support each other. They understand where we are and they always bounce back."

Corbin's third season as the Jazz's coach offers myriad examples of that "bouncebackability."

Utah responded to its first road trip of the season — three straight losses — by winning three of four games.

They won five of six after back-to-back stumbles in Boston and Philadelphia.

Their first four-game winning streak came after a three-game losing streak.

Their late December slide (2-7) paved way for an 11-4 stretch in January.

And before losing 11 of 14 after the All-Star break, you guessed it: The Jazz put together three straight victories.

Whether the credit and/or blame goes to coaching, veterans, youth, the front office, chemistry or confidence, the Jazz have been more consistently inconsistent than Wasatch Front weather patterns.

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